Index finger – Engage. I dig food tv, this you know, and there’s no limit to the amount of delicious telecommunications I can digest…almost. Food Network and other stations continue to pump out pathetic competition shows like “Next Food Network Star” or “Master Chef” which rely on sheer entertainment value rather than culinary instruction. If I wanted to be torn a new one by a Scottish hand-grenade with a 14″ knife and bad haircut I’d call your mom! (all my readers are Scottish, right?).
I suppose there’s room for both styles in tv land and one must simply watch carefully no matter what the program. That being said, there have been some stellar additions to the tele landscape in the past few months and below are my newest addictions.
Chuck’s Day Off
I wish more shows followed this formula: Restaurant chef in his restaurant making restaurant quality grub with a sense of purpose. Chef Chuck Hughes cooking is fresh, clean, creative and innovative with a sense of humor. He’s a big kid at heart (as the commercial’s attest) and often riffs on childhood favorites like doughnuts, PB&J’s, fries, burgers, and ice-cream sandwiches. Don’t let that fool you tho, this chef has some serious chops and busts out dynamic recipes like braised short ribs, complex veal stock, turducken, and countless homemade standards like mayo, ketchup, pickles, jams, dressings, etc. What I appreciate most about this show, besides Chef Chuck’s happy-go-lucky Canadian attitude, is the glimpse into the restaurant world and explore what it takes to run a quality dining establishment. Reminds me of the good old days…I officially have a reason to visit Canada.
Two Fat Ladies
Cooking meets Monty Python. I kid you not, I used to watch this show in middle school and laugh just as loud as I do now. These two chubby chicks from foggy London-town are talented, mental and outlandishly hilarious. They cook up some of the craziest dishes I’ve ever seen and do so while mumbling in silly English accents and driving a sidecar motorcycle! If that’s not a recipe for an award winning show I don’t know what is. Only thing that could make this better is some heavy drinking and cigarettes. They do that after every show?! C’mon! Sadly Jennifer Paterson, the cheekiest of the two, passed away but Clarissa Dickson is acting as a local food activist in England. Jolly good work.
Who called it? I wrote about Mark Bittman’s webisodes last summer and lo and behold the episodes are now being aired on The Cooking Channel in full HD. What can I say, I watch a lot of TV and know the good stuff when I see it. I’m expecting some royalty checks in the mail anyday now…I’m talking to you NY Times.